Tracy K. Smith poses for a portrait outside of NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Friday. Mito Habe-Evans/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Mito Habe-Evans/NPR

Nikky Finney's Head Off & Split tells the stories of contemporary African-American life from the Civil Rights movement to Hurricane Katrina. David Flores/ hide caption

itoggle caption David Flores/

A Feathered Gathering: All the birds of the world gather to hear the hoopoe bird speak in author and illustrator Peter Sis' The Conference of the Birds. Sis painstakingly painted thousands of birds by hand in to bring his new book to life. Click Here For A Closer Look Peter Sis/Courtesy of Penguin Press hide caption

itoggle caption Peter Sis/Courtesy of Penguin Press

Marie Howe is the author of three collections of poetry. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

Brad Fowler/courtesy of the author hide caption

itoggle caption Brad Fowler/courtesy of the author

Tomas Transtromer, seen in this undated photo, won the Nobel Prize for Literature on Thursday.

Paula Transtromer/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Paula Transtromer/AP

On Wednesday, the Library of Congress announced that Philip Levine would be the next poet laureate of the United States. Geoffrey Berliner hide caption

itoggle caption Geoffrey Berliner